Maternity leave must start no later than when your baby is born, so in theory as long as you can fit in your holiday before then, you can take it at the beginning of your maternity leave, as long as your employer is happy with that.
Your employer must approve holiday requests so in theory could decline but you must be given reasonable opportunity to take all your holiday. If declining your request to take it before your maternity leave means you end up losing it, your employer should agree it.
I think fufulina is asking if she can take 20 days holiday after baby is born then SMP after that? Which is how I read it but as Flowery says you can't start mat leave after a baby is born but when it is.
Also you can't take holiday and SMP at the same time.
Sorry - I completely forgot I'd asked this! My holiday year runs 1st January to 31st December. My expected date of delivery is 16th February.
I would like to take, in effect, all of my 2012 allowance before I start receiving SMP, so would I need to take 4 weeks from 16th January to 16th February? And what happens if the baby comes early? (Unlikely - I went to 43 weeks with DD). Would I lose the holiday? It is all rather confusing!
Or do I take three weeks and then ask that the rest is rolled over? Or finish earlier?
I had this problem - and it was easier to try and take it all before baby due - had mat leave starting on my EDD - they mucked up the calculations though and I had to roll a few days over to the next leave year when I came back - so I would suggest getting it in writing that if the baby come early you can roll over your holiday